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The Bleeding Tombstone of Appleton, Wisconsin

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Photo by Find-a-Grave Contributor 
Matthew J. Preissner

It’s Spooky Season here on Theresa’s Haunted History of the Tri-State, but also in my own home. Well, it’s Spooky Season for me year-round…but beginning in mid-September, I’m finally able to get my kid on-board. One of the ways we ‘celebrate’ is to take advantage of the 10-15 minutes we have each weekday morning waiting in the school drop-off line to watch a quick video about a spooky legend or story. We really like the videos of Jessii Vee, who recently did a story on a cursed tombstone located in Appleton, Wisconsin! 
The tombstone in question sits down a secluded path in the Riverside Cemetery of Appleton, WI. The plot sits by itself overlooking the river, but the tombstone is a large, beautiful piece of art which was undoubtedly quite expensive in its day. If you’re lucky enough to stumble across this tombstone, you’ve stumbled across the final resting place of Kate Blood. 
There are those in town who swear that by the light of a full moon, blood will drip down the face of the tombstone, oozing over the engraving of Kate’s name and birth/death dates. Others will say this stone gives off an eerie heat, even  in the coldest weather. Some have even sworn to see an apparition of a woman crouching behind the tombstone, as if hiding from the prying eyes of anyone who dares approach the grave. 
Like many cursed tombstones around the country, the grave of Kate Blood comes with an accompanying back story that tries to validate the activity. In the most popular version of the legend, Kate was a murderous witch. She killed her husband and three children with an axe, before taking her own life. As a result of her misdeeds, she was buried away from the rest of the cemetery. In an alternate version, Kate’s husband murdered HER, and presumably, the bleeding tombstone is a reminder to all of the tragedy that took her too soon. 
While actual history doesn’t line up with either versions of the legend, it is true that Kate was a young woman who was taken from this world too soon.
Kate Marcia Blood was born on May 4, 1851. Her parents, Colonel Henry L. and Theresa Blood, were some of the earliest settlers in the area, responsible in part for laying out the town. Kate, or Kitty as she was known, was one of the first children born into the new fledgling community. As she grew into womanhood, she would marry George Miller, editor of the local newspaper, the Appleton Post. She was described by all who knew her as beautiful, accomplished, sweet and amiable. She came from a good, Methodist family, and was beloved by all who knew her.
Unfortunately, she would take ill with the dreaded consumption (which we call tuberculosis today). In an effort to try to cure her disease, her family took her on a trip. She became one of thousands in those days to head for Colorado, believing the state’s fresh air had a curative effect on consumption. She never made it. While making a stop in Lawrence, Kansas, Kitty Blood Miller passed away. Her date of death is listed as either December 28th or December 29th, 1874. 
Kitty’s body was brought home by train and the town mourned her death. She left behind a young daughter of two years of age, as well as her husband, George. She was only 23 years old. 
The town moved on, and George moved on, remarrying and living another 40+ years. But, by the river in Riverside Cemetery stood a stone monument with the name Kate BLOOD boldly emblazoned on it, sparking a legend that would endure for decades. But, Kate isn’t the only BLOOD  who has had an unfortunate claim made about them based largely, if not solely, on the idea of their name alone. While Blood is a common English surname, it can be a little…jarring…seeing it on a tombstone.
West Virginia has its own bleeding tombstone legend, located in Huntington’s Woodmere Cemetery. Here, near the main entrance, is the grave of Edith Blood, known as Mother Blood, a rumored midwife with a penchant for murdering babies. Again, there is no historical basis to the legend, and a perfectly reasonable explanation for the rust colored stains that actually do mar the surface of the tombstone. You can read all about THAT legend here: (Legends of Woodmere Cemetery: Mother Blood)
Sources and Further Reading:

Collar, Jim. Kate Blood: The Woman Behind the Urban Legend. Post Crescent (October 28, 2015)
Appleton Post
7 January 1875


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